As President of Conceptual Communications I attend A LOT of business networking events and belong to numerous business development groups. This morning’s topic at one event was about the importance of crafting an elevator pitch – simple conclusion – develop one but in a practical manner!
There are TONS and TONS of articles out there that have been advising people for years to develop a 30-second pitch, convoluted with all sorts of pithy and attractive words. To keep it real, it is completely unnatural and unlikely that you will EVER answer the simple question of “What do you do” with a 30 second diatribe.
So instead of jumping on the elevator pitch bandwagon, my advice is to simply think through the actual conversation you have with 80% of the people you meet who ask the question “what do you do” and craft pointed responses as opposed to a 30-second “elevator pitch.” I guarantee you will save yourself a lot of time racking your brain for 3 to 5 sentences, that you then have to perfectly recite, that will inevitably be intercepted by normal, unscripted responses.
Here are 3 tips/pieces of advice to consider when thinking through your first point of contact conversation:
1) Make sure you incorporate your name, your product’s name or your company’s name at least 3x
2) Make sure you convey your USP (unique selling point) – what differentiates you, your product or company from your competitors
3) Make sure you actually convey in the most straightforward manner – what the hell it is that you do
To give you some direction – here is my typical first point of contact at a business networking event:
Other Person: “what do you do”
Me: “I own an alternative Marketing & PR Firm called Conceptual Communications.”
This simple response that doesn’t give away the farm ALWAYS leads to a follow up question
Other Person: “where are you based” or “What type of companies/organizations do you work with” or “what industry does your firm specialize in” or “how long have you been in business” – regardless of the question I always respond with Conceptual Communications’ USP (unique selling point)
Me: “Conceptual Communications is really the cost-effective alternative for companies and organizations – we are the alternative to hiring a full time director of marketing/PR or retaining a large public relations firm.”
Other person: “So what type of clients do you work with”
Me: “Conceptual Communications serves clients in the non-profit, private and public sectors – we work with clients across all different industries from banks, real estate agents, non profits, churches and provide everything from social media to video production, media relations, PR crises management and re-branding – we do it all!”
Other Person: “How do you offer a better price point than your competitors – PR firms charge thousands per month”
Me: “I founded this company to provide an alternative – so we work within any budget – we just do a better job of prioritizing what the client needs to reach their goals. PLUS instead of employing full time employees – which leads to tons of overhead, each staff member only works on projects they are truly proficient in – For example a typical PR firm would have each employee/account exec assigned to let’s say 5 clients. That same employee would manage the account, write media releases, manage social media, create content etc. The Conceptual Communications model offers a social media expert to manage our clients’ social media platforms, a content strategist to write our clients’ media releases, a media relations expert to work with the media etc. So essentially each client is getting a staff member who is an expert in each field and at a much more cost-effective price point.”
Other Person: “That makes total sense – I have a friend who owns a company that could use some help” or “My company could use your firm’s expertise” or “I would like to meet with you to discuss some marketing efforts I have been thinking about executing” etc.
For some additional pointers in line with this “New Age” elevator pitch model – check out this article published in INC. Magazine